The Pedal That Solves Everything?

Words Cam McRae
Date Jul 15, 2015

I haven’t been quiet about my issues with pedals. Both clipless (SPD type) and flats have some relatively serious issues for riders attracted to challenging terrain. I’ve often thought that if you could have an interface like the flat pedal that would hold your foot in place it would be an ideal solution. And I’ve wondered about magnets as well but the idea seemed impractical.

David's last Kickstarter attempt was no successful, and looking at this large, blocky pedal, it's easy to see why.

David’s previous Kickstarter attempt was not successful, and looking at this large, blocky pedal, it’s easy to see why.

David Williams was lured to clip in after several years of riding, and his first experience involved tipping over on the asphalt in front of a group of people; “although my knees were gashed and bleeding my ego was hurt most of all.” Embarrassment as the mother of invention? The way he tells it, that was when he started thinking, ‘there must be a better way.’ What isn’t clear is whether David spent much time clipping in after that or if he was too scarred to go on.

secondtry

The new version looks much thinner and more like a conventional flat pedal. The six Allen head bolts hold down the cover plate, beneath which you’ll find rare earth magnets.

For me one of the big disadvantages of clipless pedals is the presence of a hunk of metal in the middle of your shoe. Every ride involves some walking and some involve a lot of hiking on treacherous terrain. If anything this shoe makes that worse, but a magnet could work through rubber. If that could be worked out I’d be much more revved up about this.

specs

A total of 10 magnets can be inserted for the maximum attractive force of 35 lbs. The two-bolt plate (lower centre) replaces the cleat in your clipless shoe.

As it is there are some pretty clear advantages; easy in and out, a pedal you can use with any shoes, no learning curve and, according to David, up to 35 lbs of attractive force (which is adjustable).

The biggest downside I can see is the weight. Each pedal weighs over a pound and the entire system is 974 grams. Many pedals weigh less than 500 grams and some or less than 400, so you’ll be adding in the neighbourhood of 500 grams to your bike, more than a full pound.

One of the best things about this pedal is that it could attract riders from both side of the clips vs flats equation, making the market very large indeed.

Apparently a lot of you like these. The Kickstarter campaign was at $6800 at 11:00 pm on July 15th when we posted this, after being active for 12 days. Over night, while North America was asleep, it went to $11,554. So that’s $566/day for the first 12 days and $432 an hour for the last 11 hours.

Have a look over on Kickstarter and see what you think.


After the kinks are worked out this could be revolutionary.

 

Comments

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July 18, 2015, 12:28 p.m. -  Eric E. Strava

I imagine you'd probably find some random bolts and other metal objects stuck to the pedals after a ride.

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July 16, 2015, 12:33 p.m. -  awesterner

Is there pedal float? That's a bit of an issue for a lot of people.

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July 16, 2015, 1:56 p.m. -  Cam McRae

Indeed. They claim it has infinite float.

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July 16, 2015, 12:06 p.m. -  yahs

Cool idea. Although what happens when the surfaces get dirt and debris on them? dirt grinding between the two surfaces ? What about soaking wet?

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July 16, 2015, 11:24 a.m. -  jeremy

Magnets….how do they work?
-Insane Clown Posse and Jeremy

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July 16, 2015, 9:49 a.m. -  Thunderbear

Tempted but I'm gonna hold off and wait for a review. I hope they can get the weight and bulk down a bit, but with just the magnets weighing more than a good pair of flats they're always gonna be heavy..

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July 16, 2015, 9:26 a.m. -  Mark Karlstrand

If the magnets are strong enough to keep your foot on while pulling up (hard spinning) how hard would you have to pull up to get out of them? I think you would either get stuck in them (especially once you are tired) or you would mess up your knees yanking up hard to get out. After a rider gets used to clipping in/out it becomes muscle memory. SPD has not changed much since it was first invented for a reason, it works. Now magnets on my skateboard deck is another story:P

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July 16, 2015, 10:37 a.m. -  Cam McRae

Like conventional clipless pedals, pulling up shouldn't allow you to release Mark. Or at least not easily. My understanding is that to release you would angle your foot by lifting your instep while keeping the outside of your foot in contact with the pedal. A force pulling directly up is one that you generally want to be resisted. It's not clear to me if twisting your foot would cause the pedal to release but it sounds like there is quite a lot of float, so it might take quite an angle to release in this way. It's wait and see at this point. Hopefully we'll get a sample once the project gets funded, which should happen today.

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July 16, 2015, 7:44 a.m. -  Mammal

Neodymium magnets are quite brittle. You wouldn't want to be catching those pedal bodies on any rocks, etc. Although they are at least located in the center, so not the prime contact area…

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July 16, 2015, 7:46 a.m. -  Mammal

Didn't notice the cover plate… Oops.

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July 16, 2015, 7:04 a.m. -  Raymond Epstein

The big question (well one of them) is how much different is the force required to exit these pedals versus standard clips? The weight issue could be managed via smart pedal design layout as the model pictured is likely more beefy than necessary. Then again most modern pedals are pretty easy to get in and out of. I suppose not having cleats on your shoes would be nice though.

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July 16, 2015, 6:30 a.m. -  Richard Hayter

Surely the pedal body could be plastic?

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July 16, 2015, 1:19 a.m. -  caio

Too heavy for now, but a nice idea!

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July 15, 2015, 11:43 p.m. -  Sean Fairbairn

I just want to know how many lbs or pressure now regular clips use for comparison

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July 16, 2015, 8:45 a.m. -  Merwinn

You should ask David Williams.

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July 16, 2015, 11:14 a.m. -  Cam McRae

I'm not sure there would be a direct comparison Sean. My understanding is that the force they are talking about is pulling directly upward on the pedal. Because it's a magnet it will eventually release, but I don't think pulling directly up on, for example, an SPD pedal, has a release force that's in a relevant range. Have you tried removing your foot from a Shimano pedal by pulling directly up? It simply doesn't happen. Maybe it's 100 lbs? Maybe more?

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July 20, 2015, 3:26 p.m. -  Nat Brown

Agreed. I ripped the sole of a shoe off completely when I was learning SPDs. Granted the shoes were a 'gift' from a friend, and were a bit beaten up, but I put way more than 35 lbs of upward force to make that happen.

There isn't much to compare between existing pedals these magnetic ones other than weight. Feel will be quite distinct I think.

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